1920s-Era Boutique Hotel with Elegant Furnishings
In the Roaring Twenties, the Hotel Scott served as a posh retreat for silent-movie stars en route to their estates in New Port Richey. In the decades since, this stately neoclassical-revival building has changed hands several times and undergone an extensive renovation to restore it to its former close-up-ready posture. Today, it's billed as The Pier Hotel and still serves as an elegant base for travelers to browse the upscale boutiques at BayWalk, tour St. Petersburg's high-end art galleries, or bask in the sunshine at St. Petersburg Pier—all just steps away.
Spanish-villa-style arches surround the sunny veranda, where white wicker furniture sits amid tropical foliage. Inside, the deluxe rooms pair modern amenities with antique furnishings, including claw-foot tubs in many rooms. Guests can unwind with optional in-room massages or shared bottles of wine atop pillowy double-, queen-, or king-size beds trimmed with vermillion and gold accents.
In the evening, the lobby hosts a happy hour—a grand soiree where guests sip beer and wine gratis. The morning after, an extended continental breakfast helps to refuel patrons before they head out to explore St. Petersburg's waterfront or autograph every stop sign in town.
St. Petersburg, Florida: Cultural Hub with Sunny Seaside Parks
St. Petersburg is located on a peninsula on the gulf side of central Florida, a laid-back, trendy alternative to Tampa, its buttoned-up neighbor across the bay. St. Petersburg receives an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, a statistic that bodes well for a town known for its outdoor parks. At the 400-acre Sawgrass Lake Park, a mile-long boardwalk traverses one of Florida’s largest maple swamps; keep an eye out for native birds, turtles, and one of the area’s earliest residents, the alligator. On a peninsula that juts out into Tampa Bay, you can paddle a kayak through the brackish waterways and mangrove tunnels of Weedon Island Preserve.
St. Petersburg is also known for its culture. The newly revitalized downtown pulses with activity thanks to an urban-redevelopment plan that brought in shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Tour the Dali Museum, whose exhibits showcase 96 oil paintings, drawings, photographs, and transcribed raps by the surrealist artist.